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February 24 2005

No Ratings Boost from Alyson Hannigan's Appearance on Veronica Mars. What does it take?

Its not a reflection on Alyson. Just like the lack of a boost for the "The Mountian" was not a reflection on James. Although, at least in Aly's case critics actually like the show and hope it stays on the air. They were counting the days for the Moutain's cancellation before James even appeared. Anyway, its doing well for a new show on a fledgling network up against some stiff competition on the other major networks.
I would assume most Buffyverse fans who wanted to watch Veronica Mars already were, and the few that jumped on for Aly maybe wasn't as big a group as many people thought. Or maybe few of them are Nielson families!

I also think that we fans often forget that James(did the Cool Money promo even mention he was on Buffy?) and Aly aren't huge draws outside of the 'verse. Aly more than James, since she's done American Pie(s), but even then she wasn't the main star in those. I'd be surprised if casual fans of the AP series even knew her real name. Off hand, she's the only name I can think of from those movies anyway, and that's just because of her Buffy connection. I could be completely off in my guestimation, though.
I'm one of the biggest Buffyverse fans there is, but I didn't feel comfortable jumping into an episode of a show that I haven't been watching. Especially not one that seems kind of heavy on mythology. I did watch the episode James did of The Mountain, cause I knew it wouldn't matter if I had no clue what was going on.
It certainly was popular on BitTorrent. I downloaded it about an hour or two after it aired, and I got the whole episode in under half an hour. Of course I could go into a rant of how the ratings are not an accurate reflection of who's really watching anymore, but what's the point? *sigh* For what it's worth, I love Veronica Mars, and if it doesn't get picked up for a second season, I will be sad.
I'd stay mindful of the small print at the bottom of the Zap2It screen, which said that the ratings were based on Fast National polling and may not reflect reality.

I do agree, though, that it is likely that most Buffyphiles already are watching, so in and off itself would not account for a ratings boost.
Don't understand the ratings system, never have, and frankly it doesn't interest me one tiny bit. Except when it prevents creative people I like from pursuing their work.

Nevertheless as a general matter I think your guestimation is pretty spot-on, RogueS. Or at least it's supported by my experience. For example, none of my own family members and friends, most of whom are fairly well clued-in on actors and movies, could name a single one of the actors (Aly, Alexis, JAR, Nathan, Amy, Amber, Adam, Danny, Tom) from pictures of the High Stakes bash; the only one who evinced any kind of recognition at all was Aly. The typical comment was "oh isn't she that 'one time in band camp' girl?" Likewise, none of my broad circle of friends and colleagues (excluding fans, natch) can name a single featured player in BtVS, AtS, or FF save, inevitably, SMG.

We Whedonesquers rightly laud the ability of our verse actors and bemoan their lack of higher profile projects, but we possibly have a tendency to overestimate their importance to the, I don't want to say ignorant . . . but I just did, world outside.
I read on TV guide.com' ask Ausiello or something like that, that Veronica Mars will most likely be picked up for a 2nd season. I mean its not like UPN has a bunch of shows that critics adore. Also, remember that its the UPN and there ratings are always near the bottom everynight.
"We Whedonesquers rightly laud the ability of our verse actors and bemoan their lack of higher profile projects, but we possibly have a tendency to overestimate their importance to the, I don't want to say ignorant . . . but I just did, world outside."

LOL... Thanks for the laugh SNT, nice post and I have to argee, much as it may pain me. The fact that 28 million people watch dreck like American Idol when they could be watching smart, thought provoking drama just makes me shake my head and sigh. Am I to draw the conclusion that people don't like thinking? or being challenged? I hate to do it, but as SNT so rightly said, I just did.
grrrr! 25 years old and I fall asleep at 5 after 9!!! Two weeks in a row... VCR backup next week, just in case! Does anyone happen to know if UPN runs encore showings?
I dunno about anyone else, but I didnt even get the chance to watch it, because it was pre-empted by college basketball. :(

Its on again on Sunday night, I think.
Yeah, it was bumped in a couple places and is being replayed. Could always comb through listings at Zap2It.
Good point, Dana5140. I don't know much about how the ratings work, but a couple of times when I've checked before the weeklies for VM were higher than the fast or the daily.
"I also think that we fans often forget that James(did the Cool Money promo even mention he was on Buffy?) and Aly aren't huge draws outside of the 'verse."

That discussion happened on another board and it was was pretty much assumed that the first in the True Crime series of movies USA has aired (of which Cool Money is a part of) also didn't mention any of the actors either and that one starred Paul Michael Glaser. It appears the network was promoting the content, not the actors. Despite a few "hurrumphs" the general consensus was that it was actually a good thing, because people who've never heard of him or could care less who he is will watch for different reasons. It's also true that they just aren't as well known outside the 'verse than we'd like to think they are!

I think the same applies to Aly. If I was her or James I'd not have a problem with the lack of "Buffy" mention. I'm sure they want and need to step away from their past as much as possible if they want to be known for other things besides being "the band camp" girl or that platinum blond vamp.

I don't get the ratings system either, not sure if I understand how just a small slice of humanity is indicative of what the majority is watching.

"The fact that 28 million people watch dreck like American Idol when they could be watching smart, thought provoking drama just makes me shake my head and sigh. Am I to draw the conclusion that people don't like thinking?"

Boggles my mind as well. Not only that, but THEN you have to watch supposedly "legitimate" news shows "reporting" on the previous evenings' American Idol like there's anything to discuss.

[ edited by Grace on 2005-02-24 19:43 ]
We Whedonesquers rightly laud the ability of our verse actors and bemoan their lack of higher profile projects, but we possibly have a tendency to overestimate their importance to the, I don't want to say ignorant . . . but I just did, world outside.


Hm..this is, as uncomfortable as it might be for some of us, exactly true. Whedonesquers tend to watch episodes of BtvS and AtS through rose-colored glasses; experiencing only great writing made real by exceptionally talented actors, coupled with an amazement that others cannot appreciate it..

I think everyone will have to accept that it will take lots of time before Whedonverse stars will become famous, or even be asked to audition for higher profile projects. Until then, their amazing talent will have to be our little secret.

Of course, I am probably (hopefully) wrong.
Completely forgot to watch Veronica Mars. I'd say sorry Aly, but then as others have said, not a Nielsen box in house so it really doesn't matter. Like SNT I don't get the system, save that it is severely flawed and could be miles off from actual viewer numbers. And while it's obviously hard if not impossible to get accurate numbers, it's just sad when everyone GOES by the Nielsens to make the decision of whether or not to cancel a show.

I'm still a bit surprised that James or Aly's appearances on other shows didn't make even the slightest change in the ratings. But then if I didn't frequent this board I wouldn't even know they were going to be on the MT or Veronica Mars to begin with and I think that's also a part of the cause. Unless you already watch those shows, or already a fan of the actors, you're probably not going to know.

I also agree with many of the above statements that outside of the Buffy fandom, our favorites are just not that well-known. Apart from SMG...and Aly being 'that chick from AP that does stuff with her flute'... Kinda sad.

Then again I shouldn't point fingers to people fr. I know the Stargate shows are doing well, but apart from the McGyver guy, I wouldn't recognise a single actor from it myself.
Whedonesquers tend to watch episodes of BtvS and AtS through rose-colored glasses; experiencing only great writing made real by exceptionally talented actors, coupled with an amazement that others cannot appreciate it..


Well, don't misunderstand me, NealM. I truly believe heart and soul, as I'm sure you do too, that the writing *is* great and that the actors *are* exceptionally talented (with only a few small exceptions in each case), and I will never cease to be astonished that many people who are otherwise thoughtful, have good taste, and are open-minded, cannot seem to get beyond genre labels or the deliberately playful BtVS title. Why is it more socially-acceptable for my colleagues to have a 20-minute conversation about The Apprentice or Project Runway than for me to talk about Firefly and how great Serenity is going to be? Even in this post-Star Wars new world, fantasy/sci-fi is still relegated to a small kennel in the front yard while reality programming gets a cozy couch, tea, and cookies in the living room. End rant.
I got to see last week's episode of Veronica Mars with Alyson Hannigan. The episode itself was three or four predictable plots slamming into each other in a vain attempt to keep things exciting, with the lead character interacting with cookie cutter supporting roles. When Mars' friend decides to sit in the hotel room and wait for his long lost mom, Mars decides well this is convenient cuz I got these other two plots to content with and I can always call him on a cellphone later. And damn does that cellphone get used as a plot device often in this show. The dialogue feels like a rough draft of an episode of Clueless, and is just as clueless, and if kids actually dress like this today, then I HAVE gotten too old.

Am I the ONLY one who sees Veronica Mars as a cheap rip off of Buffy, only without anything remotely genre-ish? Mars is Buffy without an excuse to kick ass. I'm gonna go repaint the Jolly Green Giant, resell him to a veggie canning company, and make millions. Watch me.

Hannigan steps into the third act of this pisspoor excuse for television. The director tells her to stand there like a meter maid and be catty. The got Hannigan wearing plain black clothes that would make Morena Baccarin look dull! So she's catty in a hotel room and she's catty a few minutes later in a high school hallway. Could I BE any less impressed? I hear next week Veronica Mars guest stars Sean Connery, who stands in a parking lot for thirty seconds and -get this!- is catty. What a waste of talent.

Hannigan can't save this Veronica Mars tv series any better than Connery could save The Avengers movie. I'm so frustrated at the amazing acting talent available to TV City today which is being so poorly utilized. I'm surprised James Marsters isn't walking around in a Barney dinosaur suit. Really. Grrr! Argh!
Iím confused by the ďRatingsĒ. Do they take into account TiVo, video taping, and DVD recording? If not, how can they accurately reflect the viewing public? When there are two reasonably interesting TV shows airing simultaneously, I tape the one Iím most interested in and watch the also-ran. That way I can watch the more interesting show more than once, if I chose to. How do the ratings account for that?
The Neilson (sp?) rating system is so outdated it barely applies anymore. Basically, you only count if you have a rating box. They take what the Neilson houses watch, take the total number of TVs on at the time, and create a funky average. We studied it in my journalism class last year and I could remember it just long enough to pass the test.
While it hasn't been a ratings smash, I feel the chances are good UPN will give VM a second season. The numbers have been fairly consistent this season and it isn't like UPN has a flood of hit shows.

I didn't think Aly would increase the ratings, like BtVS, you either love VM or you don't. If you're in the 'don't' camp, odds are high Alyson Hannigan won't register on your radar anyway. I still hope this becomes a recurring role for Aly. As always, time will tell.
Oooh ZM! I loved Clueless!
Madhatter, Aly's already confirmed for an episode in late March, so it definitely will be recurring. :)
I read a article last week that neilson is modifing the way they do business and will be counting DVRs and other stuff in the future.

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/recent_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000808692
I watch the "dread American Idol" as well as VM, Buffy, Angel, and Lost. So reality tv doesn't have to mean compromise.
But besides that maybe I just missed the promotions but were there any beyond the Online with Kristin? Because that could have a lot to do with the stagnant ratings. I thought AH was wonderful on it though. She did great.
I actually agree with you, SoddingNancy: These are indeed great actors. As I have often said, this was not my first opinion. Angel was just a great show that worked for me as a whole package--I didn't view it as being great from any particular strength, or watch it because of any one actor/actress.

However, reading through many posts, and the amazing amount of serious scholarship to be found online: Papers, theses, and "special articles" that are posted on hundreds of fansites on every subject from which character is the most heroic, to who would have survived the apocalypse convinced me that every aspect of the Whedonverse was special. I am also certain that, with enough time, a Ph.D. dissertation can be found online, which outlines the enormous social impact BtvS or AtS has had on this generation. I have also read papers and comments that suggest Wesley or some other favorite character was the actual lead in this or that season.

What I am getting at is that BtvS and AtS work on so many levels; there is much to be entertained by: Overall Story, Angel and his quest for redemption, Angel vs. Spike, Office politics at Wolfram & Hart driving the storyline, Wesley's transformation and regressions, etc. This is good news, for now you can watch the entire series from a fresh perspective, and never be bored!

Hm...sorry for the long ramble.
UPN is the least watched of the networks and probably spends the least on promoting its shows. I'm not surprised in the least that there wasn't a ratings boost. Was there a ratings spike when Paris Hilton appeared on the show?
I have to admit, I'm in the really like it camp. It's definitely not Buffy but then I don't expect it to be. I was so relieved that AH wasn't playing any sort of Willow-lite character and seeing her play a spoiled bitch was great. I hope VM gets a second season and AH becomes a recurring character; it'd be nice to have another female as part of the regular cast.
ZachsMind, while I disagree with your overall assessment of VM, because I do like it, even though it does not come up to the level of Buffy, I do agree with you about the way AH was used. She looked uncomfortable and stiff to me in her first appearance in the episode -- her clothing did not help, and it certainly didn't help convey "catty" to me. I remember reading that AH had difficulty getting back into the swing of things, despite her many years on Buffy, and I think it showed. I hope she gets more opportunities to add depth and complexity to the character. She is such a good actor, but she certainly was not able to shine in the few moments she had, IMO.
She looked spectacular in her first episode! She went from Willow to a spoiled snob and she did it with complete believablity.
I disagree with you palehorse.
Neil- head over to slayage.tv and you will find a number of phd type papers discussing exactly what you ask for- and those papers are really really good.

Aly menioned in her interviews about getting the role on VM that she initially found herself far more nervous than expected, that she really did not know why. I think I do- it has been some time for her and now she is being offered a new role, one that might be reoccurring. Both her and Alexis are essentially out of work at present, and this is a new chance for her. I think she was dressed as she was because Logan initially needed to think it was his mom, and with Aly's hair it would have been obvious as soon as she got off the elevator that it was not Mrs. Echolls, but rather Trina, thus diminishing the reveal. Later Aly was a bit more fetching. Were I UPN, I would immediately get her into a bikini and show off that world-class set of abs.

It is a shame that actors of Aly's talents cannot find work. It hurts me no ned to think that more people know her as the band camp chick than as the multifaceted Willow, who is one of the great creations in all of television history. I want the best for her, was sorry that NBC could not find a vehicle for her, and hope this pans out into something better. Why should a skank like Tara Reid get more work than Aly, anyway?
Zachsmind - Whole hearted (if slightly less bitchy) agreement from me on Veronica Mars. I had never seen the show before and won't again. As you mentioned, the dialogue is awful. I involuntarily moaned a few times. They seem to be straing for the stylized dialogue of a Clueless or BTVS but missing the mark by a wide margin.
While I agree that it is not 'verse level I think the writing (with a couple of exceptions) has been decent and getting better. The plot juggling of the past two weeks has felt a little forced however -- have you who panned it after Aly-watching seen previous eps? There is a lot going on that someone watching this ep would be completely oblivious to for not having seen previous eps.
I'm feeling oversimplistic today, but I see two sides to this: those who want VM to stay on the air and those, for whatever reason, who don't care.

I know which side I'm on. The rest of you... enjoy American Idol and One Tree Hill.
Zachsmind, I watched an earlier episode of Veronica Mars a few months ago at the urging of a very bright and interesting member of my DC Buffy Meetup crew...and was horribly disappointed...for pretty much the same reasons you give--stilted dialogue, contrived plot devices that come across as contrived plot devices, and characters that just weren't believable.

Contrast that with episode one of Buffy...Xander when he picks up the stake...when he hears the Buffy/Giles conversation and all he says is..."What..???"...Willow's seizing the moment...Cordy's magnificent bitchiness...the utter real-ness (sorry, not a word, but...) of Joyce's admonitions to Buffy...it is so night-and-day....

Not being judgey, just being observy.
I think it's the difference between trying to make safe entertainment that's cost effective and almost assembly line oriented in manufacturing such programming, compared to actually making good art. Whedon was able to do the latter, but it was perhaps more expensive for him to do so than most shows on air today. Reality television doesn't have to do as well in ratings to be successful because it doesn't cost as much to produce. Shows like The O.C., One Tree Hill, or Veronica Mars are cheaper to produce because they're more ingrained in the real world, and they often use talent that is either unknown or known but not so expensive as to be out of cheap tv's price range. That's all well and good, but ultimately you get glorified soap opera writing with predictable plots which are easy for an audience to follow. You get dialogue that's flat and acting that's stunted. No time is explored to improve something because they are cutting corners and just trying to get it in the can so they can move on to the next scene. It's frustrating. Good stuff gets the axe because it costs too much to do.

As for ratings, they're not done for the consumers. They're calculated for advertisers, and those guys don't care about how many people watch a show out of the more conventional methods, because when someone downloads a show on bittorrents or catches it on TiVo, ninety percent of the time they'll watch it without the commercials, or if the commercials are there, they'll fast forward through them. So advertisers are only interested in that mean average obtained from Nielsen boxes. That determines whether or not they'll invest money in the show because they don't care about the programming that brings us to the work, but the thirty second spot they squeeze between the acts. So don't expect ratings to truly ever properly depict realistic viewings. Advertisers are still in denial about the fact that their commercials do not really effect average consumer behavior to any truly meaningful degree.

The day they realize it, television as we've known it for almost a century now will cease to be. In effect, to a degree that's happening already, which is why studios are going cheaper and cheaper in production, because there's less advertising dollars going around.
Up until just recently, I've been reading a lot about conspicuous and annoying product placement distracting viewers during shows. So that may increase. Because advertisers are used to ignoring consumer complaints.

I'm not saying that VM is a good show because it's on the same level as Buffy. I'm saying it's a good show compared to the other junk that's on these days.

One thing I'd like to see is collecting data from satellite boxes. My auto-tune is set to pick up every Angel and Buffy rerun, whether I'm home or not. That data should make a dent with someone.
Same here. I've got TiVo recording every Buffy repeat, just because you know all that data's gotta be collecting somewhere and it's only a matter of time. Heck, I still have my Firefly season pass at the top of my list. That one's mostly out of spite though.

As for Veronica Mars, I love it. I really don't see the Buffy connection, save for witty dialogue and a high school setting (and now Aly), but it and Lost are the only things worth watching on TV right now in my opinion. Though I'm tempted to support anything that's not a reality show. Just on principle.
ve to this statement "Advertisers are still in denial about the fact that their commercials do not really effect average consumer behavior to any truly meaningful degree" I could not disagree more. The fact is, there is reams of dat showing exactly howmuch advertisers ads affect people. This is now so ingrained that the political parties are relying to a far greater extent upon the tools of advertising and marketing to bring their messages to the public. You may have read about this lately coughArmstrongWIlliamscough...

Earlier today I read that a program like Lost or Desparate Houswives draws around 20 million viewers. In contrast, when the Beverly Hillbillies was on it regulary drew between 40-60 million viewers. This is a result of greater choice (cable, etc.) so that even the best shows do not draw the kind of numbers from the past. VM is not doing well in the ratings, but its demographic is appealing to advertisers because it draws a certain kind of person; thus, combined with the fact that UPN willr ecoup money via the sales of DVDs (like Wonderfalls is doing now), I think it is unlikely that VM will be cancelled.
As for Veronica Mars, I love it. I really don't see the Buffy connection, save for witty dialogue and a high school setting (and now Aly), but it and Lost are the only things worth watching on TV right now in my opinion.


I, too, love Veronica Mars. It took me a while to stop my torches for Buffy, Angel, and Firefly from ruining my enjoyment of less ambitious—or perhaps more accurately, less capably staffed—shows. Mind you, the torches still burn bright.

Mars benefits greatly from Kristen Bell's presence, but Enrico Colantoni brings a lot to the show as well. Not forgetting Eli (Francis Capra), Wallace (Percy Daggs III), and Leo (Max Greenfield), who are all great in their supporting roles. While the plots may be predictable, I find that the texture of these characters, and their interactions with one another, more than make up for telegraphed twists and slight overuse of Magic Cell Phones (not much different than the Magic Books & Computers of the Whedonverse, I suppose).

Funny, I don't really like any of the rich folks in the show. How appropriate!

The thing I found odd about Aly's appearance was its timing within the episode. I suppose I'm just spoiled by the way the Joss et al. managed to carry the energy of those types of plot revelations from act break to act break, show to show. In this case, the “jolt” of Trina's reveal quickly faded; after the that scene, Trina wasn't seen again until the end of the episode, at which point she was just a quick way to get the drunken brother home safely. I have high hopes for Trina's arc, however many episodes it may last; they should really take advantage of Aly's talents while they can (assuming hers is a limited engagement).

Lost is one of my favorites as well, but there are certainly other shows worth watching: The Shield (new season starts March 15!), ER, Scrubs, Monk, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck, and, yes, Joey all keep me tunin'.
ZachsMind,

A lot of the problem with Veronica Mars is that people expect it to be the "new Buffy". It's not. And it's not meant to be. End of story. Nothing can be the "new Buffy"

Have you watched any other episode besides the one with Aly in it? If you have, you might have a different opinion of it. Or maybe not.

The reason I'm posting this is that I've never seen anyone so wrong (IMHO) about a show before. (Well, there was this one guy who thought VM was like Will & Grace) Everything happens for a reason, even the multiple plots, the cellphone, or his "friend" being the way he is, and her willingness to leave him. You might notice this if you've wathed more than one ep.

Mars is Buffy without an excuse to kick ass


And beating something is the only way to "kick ass"? In the past, Veronica Mars has beaten down people more powerfull than her (biker gangs, the sheriff, etc) and without even breaking a nail. She's smart, she's gutsy, and she's braver than anyone gives her credit for.

That's not to say the show is without it's flaws, but to outright condemn it like you have... *sigh*
Just to throw some numbers out there, VM opened with a dismal 1.8 million viewers. It has since climbed to an average of 2.4 million. To put these numbers in UPN's perspective, 'Star Trek:Enterpise' has average about 2.9 million viewers this season. With that said, this doesn't mean VM is doomed. Enterprise is in its fourth season and fading fast while VM is holding steady in its first season. Though it's only speculation on my part, I think UPN will give VM another season.
VM opened with a dismal 1.8 million viewers. It has since climbed to an average of 2.4 million. To put these numbers in UPN's perspective, 'Star Trek:Enterpise' has average about 2.9 million viewers this season.

In comparison, it seems like UPN is getting quite a bang for their buck out of Mars as I can't imagine that it costs nearly as much to produce as Enterpise.

What did Buffy do in its heyday, 3-5 million?
I live in Finland, and haven't seen any VM yet. Can't comment on the quality, that is. But the series creator posted at TWOP a couple of weeks ago, and wrote that he would bet for second season rather than against it.

But my real question is about ratings and advertising. Jet Wolf wrote:

Same here. I've got TiVo recording every Buffy repeat, just because you know all that data's gotta be collecting somewhere and it's only a matter of time.


This is very spirited and shows true love and support for the series. Kudos for that.

But aren't you all even a little bit concerned about the time when Big Bro is collecting all the info about what we watch and where we surf, and what we do? Nielsen boxes are undoubtedly outdated, but I would hate to see a system which would indicate exactly who watches what.
Ubqtous, BtVS hit its peak during the second season with 5.2 million. It had an average of 3.8 during it 5 year run at WB. This dropped to 3.2 with the move to UPN. These were good numbers for UPN at the time since it wasn't aired as widely as now. However, with the cost of $2.3 million per episode, the show still ran them well into the red in budget. They were well aware it would, they wanted BtVS to break their 'wrestling network' image.

I'm not sure of the cost of Enterprise, but I suspect it much higher than VM.
Even in this post-Star Wars new world, fantasy/sci-fi is still relegated to a small kennel in the front yard while reality programming gets a cozy couch, tea, and cookies in the living room.

SNT, I rather like to think fantasy/sci-fi lives in a sumptuous bedroom, but maybe that's just me ;)

I know though what you mean, it is just so frustrating when people around you don't get it. Sigh

Karenina, I never get that paranoia about big brother watching me. What are they gonna do with this type of information that would be so terrible? Make more reality TV. Newsflash, itís already happening.

I am being flippant but I just donít think that as long as there are some safeguards build in (like the European data protection directives) we should get too concerned. Credit check companies know more about your life than you could ever imagine which I donít have an issue with because if it enables me to get credit thatís a good thing and if it protects retailers from fraud that is also a good thing. Yes, any system can be misused and mistakes do happen so we have to watch out, but gathering information to provide more targeted services or better commercial services is not evil in itself.

Just to be clear, what I am talking about is gathering information for commercial purposes.

If we lived in China and the government was monitoring my internet use (which they do) to close down sites which are critical to them (which they do), this would be a whole different story.
I agree partly with ZachsMind's opinion about the show, after watching six episodes.But I disagree that Veronica Mars is Buffy,because Buffy was never Marie Sue.
"Ubqtous, BtVS hit its peak during the second season with 5.2 million. It had an average of 3.8 during it 5 year run at WB. This dropped to 3.2 with the move to UPN. These were good numbers for UPN at the time since it wasn't aired as widely as now. However, with the cost of $2.3 million per episode, the show still ran them well into the red in budget. They were well aware it would, they wanted BtVS to break their 'wrestling network' image."

Madhatter those numbers arn't right. the 5.2 peak was household rating which is something like 8 to 8.5 million viewers (theres no definitive relationship but one rating point general equates to an average 1.6 million viewers). Remember also that each season has points where there are more people watching tv (october) compared to the lowest point where people watch tv (april, there is a small uptick for may sweeps). It is therefore more imortant to talk about the highest and lowest points of Buffy's run which are
(in household rating)
season 1 - 3.4, 1.8
season 2 - 5.2, 2.9
season 3 - 4.7, 3.6
season 4 - 4.4, 2.7
season 5 - 4.1, 2.7
season 6 - 4.3, 2.7
season 7 - 3.1, 2.3.

Buffy's lowest ever rating 1.8 (The Puppet show), beats Veronica Mars this week, and I believe every rating the show has had.

On Buffy the ratings fell quickly in its first season. The initial 3.4 for the two hour premier, was down to a 2.0 within two weeks, but by the finale was back up to a 2.8 (a classic bad marketing arc), a successful repeat run in the summer, maintained those viewers to premier to a 2.9, which then rose and rose, so that by the time the series was a year old, it had already hit its 5.2 high.

This really isnt comparable to VM in any way. VM premiered without prompotion and delivered the ratings that no marketing deserved. We then see a slow rise from word of mouth advetising, whilst the people who initially tuned in, stay tuned in. Personally I think if UPN picked this show up, and ran it in the summer to expose it to new viewers, the ratings for the fall premier could make the high 2's. Which whilst not great, is probably the best UPN could hope for next season, drama wise
The networks also have to keep the younger demographic entertained. This is the demo that will play video games or watch DVDs if nothing else is on. If they let them go, eventually they will forget about TV altogether and someday they'll be the older demo with more money and they will be out of the TV habit. So I think this is part of UPN's attempt to keep these viewers.
Ocipital, I agree the household ratings you listed appear correct, but the 1.6 million viewers per rating point is not. One point equals 1% of the total number of television households estimated for that year. This is why this number changes every year. It maybe 1.6 million a point for this year, to be honest, I didn't check the current rate ratio. But, from 1997 to 2003, it went from 970,000 viewers per point to 1,005,000 viewers per point. If you use these ratios, the numbers I listed are correct. Trust me, Buffy never came close to 8 million viewers. For that matter, I doubt the WB ever had that many viewers on anything.
I agree that some of the VM dialogue is clunky or contrived-sounding, but I don't think we should expect otherwise on a new show finding its footing. It has been compared unfavorably to Buffy season 1, but I think Buffy had some of the same problems at the outset. Remember the first episode, when the principal or someone would ask Buffy a question about her odd behavior, and she'd start talking about vampires, and catch herself mid-word? "Oh it was vam.... I mean, rats." Cringeworthy, unsubtle writing device, but oft-repeated in the early Buffy episodes. Buffy had strengths to offset this, though, and soon left behind the ineffective dialogue elements. I think we should expect Veronica Mars (the show, not the character) to mature in the same way, and be glad for the strengths it already has.

I also agree with the earlier comments that it is hard to judge the show without seeing earlier episodes. Of course, we want to avoid the trap of saying that nobody can judge a show unless they've seen all the episodes, but judging a show on the basis of one small part of a long story arc is fairly perilous.

Someone on the list wondered if whedonesquers were watching VM all along, or only started when AH came on. I started watching when I heard the Alyson was going to eventually be on (5 or 6 weeks ago), but now I'm hooked and I'd continue to watch it even without AH. I look forward to it as much as I do to any show on tv now.
"Ocipital, I agree the household ratings you listed appear correct, but the 1.6 million viewers per rating point is not. One point equals 1% of the total number of television households estimated for that year. This is why this number changes every year. It maybe 1.6 million a point for this year, to be honest, I didn't check the current rate ratio. But, from 1997 to 2003, it went from 970,000 viewers per point to 1,005,000 viewers per point. If you use these ratios, the numbers I listed are correct. Trust me, Buffy never came close to 8 million viewers. For that matter, I doubt the WB ever had that many viewers on anything"

no it went from 970,000 households to 1,000,500 households. Each household has at least 1 viewer, and on average 1.6 viewers per household (thats viewers who watch a program, not the number of people who could potentially watch a program which is 2.7). This 1.6 relationship is obviously only an estimation since there is no definitive link between the number of households tuned into a program and the number of viewers in all those households watching a program. Buffy most certainly hit arround the 8 million viewer mark for Innocence. 5 million viewers is nowhere near the record high for Buffy, they beat that 3 times in season 7 (Help, Selfless and Sleeper). Check out this site, if you scroll down a bit you'll see the ratings in terms of the number of viewers. http://home.insightbb.com/~wahoskem/buffy7.html

The origional question said that VM is averaging 2.4 million viewers, in household terms its something like a 1.6 million households, but i forget the exact figures

For the record the WB's highest ever rating was 9.3 million for a season 2 episode of smallville
Ocipital, what you say we let it go? I rather not argue in this room. I suspect we're both right and both wrong. I respect you too much to fight over ratings.
The times the lame "hip" dialog is used, most of the time it seems the main characters (Veronica especially) deliver the dialog in a way that is making fun of that type of speech, through body language, phony-sounding accents, etc. In a "I don't really speak this way" sort of manner. Or is it just me?
I said: "Mars is Buffy without an excuse to kick ass."

NickSeng said: "And beating something is the only way to 'kick ass'?"

I didn't mean only in the action oriented sense. I meant kicking ass in the successfully entertaining an audience sense. I almost changed the channel on VM a couple times before Hannigan finally showed up. I don't have the patience for such poor writing and acting.

No. A show doesn't have to have physical violence every fifteen minutes to keep my attention. However, at times it does help. As for my giving VM another shot? At the moment I don't see myself doing that. However, I'm reminded of my past remorse over unduly misjudging BtVS when it was in its first three seasons. I only liked an episode if Oz happened to be in it cuz Oz was cool, but I didn't pay attention to the rest of it. Usually I was busy doing other things and the show lost my interest or became background noise in the room. It wasn't until a friend offered me her videotapes and I saw several episodes back to back that i began to understand the significance of the series. Years later, after BtVS switched from the WB to UPN. I was a late bloomer.

Something similar could happen with Veronica Mars. Years from now maybe I'll watch the DVDs and learn that VM truly had something to say and wasn't just cookie cutter plots with flat and boring characters. Maybe. I don't like being proven wrong twice in a lifetime however, so I may just never watch VM on DVD as a matter of principle.
I think it's unfortunate that the VM marketers tried to imply that VM would be an adequate substitute for Buffy, because, let's face it, nothing can do that.
I think of VM more as Nancy Drew with digital gear, and I like it. One of my favorite episodes was 'Clash of the Tritons'. If you don't like that ep, you'll probably just not like the show. The clothes?.....you had to see 'Pretty in Pink'. I liked the whole 'searching for...someone' theme in the last ep. I really like Kristin Bell - she does a mean 'ditzy L.A. casting agent' accent. 8-)

[ edited by Revello on 2005-02-25 21:32 ]
"Ocipital, what you say we let it go? I rather not argue in this room. I suspect we're both right and both wrong. I respect you too much to fight over ratings. "

Its not possible for us both to be right and wrong, I'm not wrong on this :) Your confused between all the different ratings measures, which is understandable, it is a minefield of different statistics and measurements. The number of viewers is not the same as the number of households though, undisputable fact, I'm not wrong. We're not fighting i'm explaining ratings to you.
Ocipital: thanks for the explanation. I think we can drop the subject now.
I don't like being proven wrong twice in a lifetime however, so I may just never watch VM on DVD as a matter of principle. -- Zachsmind

LOL, Zachs, thanks for that awesome post. You made my day with a smile. Cheers :)
ZachsMind: Years from now maybe I'll watch the DVDs and learn that VM truly had something to say and wasn't just cookie cutter plots with flat and boring characters. Maybe. I don't like being proven wrong twice in a lifetime however, so I may just never watch VM on DVD as a matter of principle.

Hopefully you won't let your principles prevent you from giving the show at least one more chance :)

While Veronica Mars does have messages, they're of the more conventional variety (not a slam, mind you); something tells me that the likelihood of any intricate sub-text, e.g., “Objects In Space”-style existentialism, showing up is pretty slim.

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